Identification of risk variants for neuropsychiatric diseases within enhancers underscores the importance of understanding population-level variation in enhancer function in the human brain. Besides regulating tissue-specific and cell-type-specific transcription of target genes, enhancers themselves can be transcribed. By jointly analyzing large-scale cell-type-specific transcriptome and regulome data, we cataloged 30,795 neuronal and 23,265 non-neuronal candidate transcribed enhancers. Examination of the transcriptome in 1,382 brain samples identified robust expression of transcribed enhancers. We explored gene–enhancer coordination and found that enhancer-linked genes are strongly implicated in neuropsychiatric disease. We identified expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) for both genes and enhancers and found that enhancer eQTLs mediate a substantial fraction of neuropsychiatric trait heritability. Inclusion of enhancer eQTLs in transcriptome-wide association studies enhanced functional interpretation of disease loci. Overall, our study characterizes the gene–enhancer regulome and genetic mechanisms in the human cortex in both healthy and diseased states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1493-1503
Number of pages11
JournalNature Genetics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


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